The World’s Youngest Antarctic Diver

The Antarctic Circle

Tell me about how you started your trip to Antarctica.

We first went when I was ten years old. We flew to Houston, Buenos Aires and then to Ushuaia, but after we landed and got into the boat, they told us the ship was cancelled so we didn’t end up getting to go at all. That made everybody really mad, and it made me pretty upset because I was excited to get to Antarctica. At that time, diving wasn’t really in mind though. I just wanted to go! But as the second opportunity approached, I got all my training dives done and got prepared to dive. When I was ten, I’d gone to Beagle Channel instead of going to Antarctica also. That time around we sailed through Puerto Williams, Lennox Island and Isla Terhalten. Again, I didn’t actually get to dive there, I just stayed on the boat.

[slidepress gallery=’bozanic’] What happened during the day you finally got to dive in Antarctica?

I was eleven and we were diving on open circuit [traditional SCUBA] because I didn’t get my rebreather certification until a year later. The conditions were great; there was almost no surge at all and the water was almost completely flat. We were also ready with a ton of gear from sponsorships. OMS also gave us a lot of dive equipment: We got regulators, BCs, backplates and mouth pieces all for free. Otter gave me a dry suit, and Weezle also sponsored us and gave me an under suit to wear beneath it to stay warm. I first remember getting onto a Zodiac and then going to a dive spot right next to an iceberg. My last memory before the diving descent was looking up and thinking “I could cancel right here.” Then I stopped thinking altogether and my legs just pushed me over into the water. When I fell in, the shock of the cold came at me all at once. It felt like needles in my face, but after about three seconds I was so numb I couldn’t feel it anymore. I sat on the surface for a second looking at all the other divers. When they all went under I thought to myself, “Oh my God,” and just went down with them.

While I was down there I actually forgot that I was in the Antarctic Ocean because it felt just like Catalina. My face was numb, so it just felt like a regular water temperature. I remember it being very rocky underwater and looking up and seeing a huge iceberg pounding on the rocks in front of me.

jeff-bozanic-collecting-specimen.jpg

Jeff Bozanic collecting specimens - photo © Bozanic

While we were down there, my dad was collecting animals for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, so I was helping him pick up animals and put them in bags. After about ten minutes I decided I was done, so I told my dad “let’s go up.” He said “OK,” but a couple moments later, he just told me, “One more picture…” He then saw a cool brittle star, so he picked it up and put it in the bag. Then he saw another sea star and picked that up and put it in also. Then he saw a limpet he thought we should take in. That carried on for about seven minutes. Finally after 17 minutes, we came up and I was breathing hard and got up onto the Zodiac. One of my dive buddies gave me his gloves because my right glove leaked while I was down there, so my hand was completely numb and I couldn’t move it at all. It was just too cold. So, we waited for all the other divers to come up while he put his glove on me. I was absolutely miserable when I was there. The wind was blowing and it was snowing, and then it started hailing. It was just horrible. After the rest of the divers had all surfaced, we sped back to the main vessel and I remember running up the steps as fast I could, jumping two at a time. Once I got onto the boat, I ran into the bathroom and turned on the hot water from a faucet and put my hands under it. This turned out to be a really bad idea because my hands regained circulation too fast and just started pounding with pain. If it was my entire body in a hot shower, I would probably have passed out. I ran to my dad, and he said that we had to massage them so the circulation could kick back in at the right pace. We started doing that, which also hurt a lot. After the pain finally became bearable, we had some lunch.

After you did the dive, did you spend time on the continent of Antarctica, on the ice?

Yes, we took Zodiac tours to view different parts of the continent. We actually landed on Antarctica three or four times. While we were on it, we went up a 100-foot mountain, on which I slipped and fell down.  My dad taught a snow survival lesson up there as part of a polar medicine course he was conducting and we built a snow tunnel as a shelter we could sleep in. We ended up having a snowball fight in it. [laughs] We went to Palmer Station and Vernadsky, the Ukranian station. By the time we got home, the whole trip had been about four weeks.

Evan working in Vernadsky Station (Ukraine) with Igor, a Ukrainian scientist, taking ozone readings to measure the existance of the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica. Photo © Bozanic

Evan in Vernadsky Station with Igor, a Ukrainian scientist, taking ozone readings to measure the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica. Photo © Bozanic

Do you think you’ll ever go diving in the Antarctic Circle again or was one time enough?

I would like to go back because all the divers I was with saw really incredible stuff. They saw leopard seals and penguins. When I went, I didn’t see too much. I was so cold after that dive and so haunted by the entire experience I didn’t want to go back down again, but now I realize how much fun it actually was and how lucky I was to do that, I would definitely dive there again.

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9 Comments


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    avatar brett bozanic
    Posted February 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    kids pretty cool, dads not a bad guy either.


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    avatar Edward Tu
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Brave and Ambitious… Evan-AWESOME-Bozanic!!!


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    avatar Henry Tonnemacher
    Posted February 11, 2011 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    My first adventure with Evan was to Machu Pichu when he was only 2, he handled all the steep steps there amazingly well, I could tell by his abilities then that he would do many more adventures.


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    avatar Rebecca Gabriella
    Posted February 12, 2011 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Impressive and inspiring! May you always see the world as one incredible adventure after another waiting to be enjoyed. Well done Bozanics!


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    avatar Andy Sallmon
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    This is the most inspiring thing I have read about the future of diving for a long time. Excellent Evan!


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    avatar Steve
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    We, as neighbors, friends and a family have got to know the Bozanics not through diving but through every day life, they are an inspiration to us in the way they are raising their children. Truly a remarkable story from a very humble and modest person. Evan you are a tribute to your parents and siblings. I raise my hat to you sir.


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    avatar Brother-Man Vic
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    This kid is the pimp! I want to grow up one day and have the cajones this brother carries with him (not sure how he got back to surface with-’em). I have trouble getting in and out of the hot tub at the Y.


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    avatar Brad Bozanic
    Posted March 3, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Truly spectacular and amazing.
    You will probably have to tough it out and converse with adults. As it may be a while before
    you meet another 11 year old with similar experiences for you to relate to.


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    avatar bailey williams
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m doing a biography on you in class because you inspire me. And I was wondering what your date of birth is 🙂

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